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The Sentinels: Part Two: A Box Set

The Sentinels: Part Two: A Box Set

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The Sentinels: Part Two: A Box Set

Länge:
209 Seiten
3 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Feb 4, 2020
ISBN:
9781839433672
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

FROM AWARD-WINNING ROMANCE AUTHOR DESIREE HOLT

An arousing treat and a suspenseful mystery rolled into one. ~ Bitten by Books

The Sentinels: Part Two a box set

4 - Animal Instinct Drew Noland knew that Ann Marie Knight was his mate, but first he had to gather The Sentinels to take down a vicious group of hunters.

5 Mated Cale Martin knew at once Linnea Porter was his mate, but could he convince her in the midst of turmoil?

6 - Silent Hunters The wolves led her to safety, but can they keep her safe from the killers tracking her?

There were eight of them, all that was left of a once powerful pack of wolf shape shifters, who roamed northern Michigan freely and protected their land. But poachers and trophy hunters have all but erased them and they've been forced to relocate. Now they have banded together to provide protection for others who cannot protect themselves. From Maine to Texas, in wolf form and human, the use their special abilities for those who need them as they continue to search for others like themselves.

Freigegeben:
Feb 4, 2020
ISBN:
9781839433672
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

A multi-published, award winning, Amazon and USA Today best-selling author, Desiree Holt has produced more than 200 titles and won many awards. She has received an EPIC E-Book Award, the Holt Medallion and many others including Author After Dark’s Author of the Year. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The London Daily Mail. She lives in Florida with her cats who insist they help her write her books, and is addicted to football.


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The Sentinels - Desiree Holt

Author

Totally Bound Publishing books by Desiree Holt

Single Books

Crude Oil

Beg Me

Down and Dirty

Interlude

Intermission

Four Play

Game On

Swingtime

Party of Three

All Jacked Up

Top or Bottom

Rodeo Heat

Night Heat

Cupid’s Shaft

Trouble in Cowboy Boots

Strike Force

Unconditional Surrender

Lock and Load

Advance to the Rear

Take No Quarter

The Sentinels

The Edge of Morning

Night Moves

Dark Stranger

Animal Instinct

Mated

Silent Hunters

Corporate Heat

Where Danger Hides

Double Deception

Masquerade

Cat’s Eyes

Pretty Kitty

On the Prowl

Erector Set

Erected

Hammered

Nailed

Anthologies

Night of the Senses: Carnal Caresses

Christmas Goes Camo: Melting the Ice

Treble: Trouble at the Treble T

Subspace: Head Games

Bound to the Billionaire: Made for Him

Three’s a Charm: Double Entry

Collections

Heatwave: Summer Spice

Feral: Black Cat Fever

Clandestine Classics: Northanger Abbey

A Little Bit Cupid: Hot Pants and Valentines

THE SENTINELS:

PART TWO

Animal Instinct

Mated

Silent Hunters

DESIREE HOLT

The Sentinels: Part Two

ISBN # 978-1-83943-367-2

©Copyright Desiree Holt 2010

Cover Art by Natalie Winters ©Copyright January 2009

Interior text design by Claire Siemaszkiewicz

Totally Bound Publishing

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Totally Bound Publishing.

Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Totally Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

Published in 2019 by Totally Bound Publishing, United Kingdom.

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No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the authors’ rights. Purchase only authorised copies.

Totally Bound Publishing is an imprint of Totally Entwined Group Limited.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as unsold and destroyed to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this stripped book.

ANIMAL INSTINCT

Book four in The Sentinels series

Drew Noland knew that Ann Marie Knight was his mate, but first he had to gather The Sentinels to take down a vicious group of hunters.

When Ann Marie Knight literally fell into Drew Noland’s solitary existence as an injured white wolf, little did he expect her to shift into a woman whose scent called to him—mate!

Already gathering to track a vicious group of men who maimed and hunted animals illegally, they turned their attention to rescuing her brother. But could Drew calm Ann Marie’s fears and convince her they were meant to mate for life?

Dedication

As always, to my beloved David, my late great hero, who taught me the meaning of animal instinct.

Trademark Acknowledgements

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

Google Earth: Google Inc.

Houston Stock Show: Houston Stock Show and Rodeo Inc.

Texas Game and Wildlife: Texas Game and Wildlife, State of Texas

Chapter One

The white wolf ran as fast as she could, lungs burning with the effort, legs stretching out as far as they could. Thank god she was in wolf form, not human, but that brought other problems. She thought she’d scoped out the new territory thoroughly enough, but then she’d run into some other creatures when she was in wolf form who told her a horror story that made her blood freeze.

Trapped and captured, they told her. Their friends disappearing. Rumours of a big preserve on a ranch, land big enough to hide it all. Where the trapped animals were hunted and killed. Sometimes maimed first, then released to be hunted again.

Stay away, they’d told her.

Her brother, John, as usual, had been too curious. Now he’d been gone for two days, and she feared the absolute worst. She needed help, but where was she going to get it? She’d been so sure she’d find the peace she longed for in Texas. And she’d heard about a group of shifters trying to reform a pack. Now she needed to connect with them more than ever.

But her first priority was staying alive.

She heard the voices coming close punctuated by drunken laughter, and the increased thunder of hoof beats as she finally reached the huge oak tree where she’d left her clothes. Praying she had enough time, she paused, forced herself to shift, and scrambled up into the tree. She clung to the thick branch, naked and shivering, while the men passed beneath her. When she was sure it was safe, and movement couldn’t be detected, she pulled her clothes back on. But it was nearly dawn before she had the courage to climb down from the tree and stealthily make her way back to her campsite.

* * * *

Drew Noland sat on his back porch cradling a cold beer in his hands, watching the first edge of night creep over the Texas Hill Country. He loved this area of South Central Texas, the mixture of rolling pasture land with tree-dotted hills, copses of trees here and there in the vast areas of emptiness where civilisation had only bumped the edges. Ranch country. Cattle, goats, sheep, all being raised in what Drew considered the closest thing to heaven on earth. He drew in a deep breath, inhaling the mingled scents of nature that never failed to stir his senses.

He’d bought his small ranch ten years ago when he landed in the Hill Country and decided it was a safe place to stay. Running about a thousand head of cattle, he made enough to keep the ranch in the black, needing only a minimum of hands to help and still have time for his work with The Sentinels.

Now he was doing one of his favourite things—watching night lower its blanket over the countryside and the first appearance of the stars in the velvet sky. It gave him a feeling of peace he hadn’t known until he came here, peace that had been stolen from him, just like it had from his partners. A sliver of moon drifted into the sky. He heard the soft whinnying of horses in the barn, broken now and then by the distant wail of a coyote.

He’d heard other ranchers discussing the increasing presence of the predator, said there’d never been this many coyotes here before. But what bothered Drew was the talk in the feed store and the diner of the chance spying of other animals not indigenous to the area. Someone even mentioned wolves, which made Drew’s guts tie up in a knot. He knew there were no wolves around here except for himself, when he wasn’t in human form.

He knew what madness even the whisper of a wolf could do in a community, and a tiny thread of fear unravelled inside him. A human pack was far more dangerous than any group of animals. It was how his pack had been destroyed. How he, himself, had nearly been killed, hiding in the woods in the northern state where they’d lived, woods that he was so familiar with—shifting to his human shape during the day to avoid detection. Men determined to kill wolves at all costs were like rabid dogs, crazed and maniacal.

Few members of his pack had survived, and they’d scattered for safety. Some hand of fate must have led them all to Texas, where he ran into the Spencer brothers working at the Houston Stock Show. The three of them had managed to find the other five remaining members, all gravitating to a small town outside San Antonio.

So now he was one of a band of eight. The Sentinels. Guardians offering their services to those in need, while pursuing the remnants of other packs in an effort to rebuild a community. Most of the others had chosen homes in the city or in one of the smaller Hill Country towns. But Drew felt trapped when he was surrounded by buildings, so he’d looked around and found this ranch to buy.

Their numbers were increasing. Both of the Spencers had mated with humans, and Kelsey Bryant had stumbled into another shifter, Mack Redfield, while vacationing in Maine. So now there were two Sentinels offices, one in Texas and one in Maine. And Mack had a few shifters from his own pack who were willing to work with them.

Drew felt safe at the ranch, happy with his solitary existence. His ranch hands knew him as a taciturn loner, and he was happy to leave it that way. He had the freedom to shift at night and run through the trees, returning home before any of the ranch workers arrived.

But now there were rumblings of something as vile as a secret illegal game preserve, where trapped animals were let loose and hunted for big money twelve months of the year. This was well outside the rules and regulations of Texas Game and Wildlife. He’d even heard whoever was running the preserve scoured neighbouring ranch lands in the hopes of picking up a stray predator to add to the outlaw population. The whispers made Drew very nervous. Edgy enough that he considered driving into the city to meet with his partners and get their feedback. If he couldn’t shift in freedom on his own land, he was in big trouble.

He finished his beer, rose and stretched. But as he lifted his face to the night air, a very faint scent drifted past his nostrils, and every hair on his body stood up. Something was wrong, something that his wolf self had caught wind of, something that he was afraid was bringing trouble to him.

Definitely tomorrow he’d head into the office. He couldn’t afford to wait and see if trouble came to him.

* * * *

What does everyone else say?

Luke Spencer leant back in his chair, his booted feet resting on his desk, a mug of coffee cradled in one hand, studying his partner.

Drew, too edgy to sit, paced the floor with his own coffee, sipping at it absently.

So far anyone I’ve casually mentioned it to says it’s just kids telling wild stories. But I have a feeling in my gut about this, Luke. I think there’s something bad going on.

Luke dropped his feet and leant forward. Who do you think would be doing this? Who has a spread big enough to hide something like this?

Drew shrugged. Five or six people could easily bury it in their land. There are that many ranchers with more than ten thousand acres to their spreads.

Maybe a couple of us should come out and scope the area, Luke suggested.

That’s what I was hoping you’d say. There’s a town meeting tonight, and I want to wait and see if anyone brings this up. Why don’t I call you afterwards and give you a report. Then we can make plans.

Good. Luke pushed himself out of his chair. Let’s get everyone together while you’re here and run this by them. We can call in a favour if we need to and do some satellite tracking, but meanwhile all the others will be on the alert.

* * * *

Drew deliberately sat in the back of the community room at the bank where the meeting was taking place. He wanted to be able to see and hear everyone without being drawn into the discussion. On a raised platform at the front of the room sat Hob Winston, the bank president, Axel Grisham, county commissioner, and the men with the three largest ranches—Grant Mason, Bo Sheridan and Harley James.

The mighty powers, Drew thought to himself sarcastically.

These men controlled the politics of the county, even spreading into other counties, and nothing happened without their say so. They had always resented the fact that Drew held himself so aloof, which only prompted him to be more reserved than ever.

But just because he wasn’t part of the inner circle didn’t mean he suspected any of these men of what was being whispered about. They were all fourth and fifth generation Texans, wearing their honour like a badge. They’d done a lot of good for the area. He couldn’t see any of them being part of something so heinous as an illegal game preserve and hunt.

I want these rumours chased down, Grant Mason thundered, stabbing the air with his forefinger. Things like this hurt all of us.

That’s the damn truth, Hob Winston agreed. "Now I know all of you. Y’all are clients of the bank. You work hard to maintain the honour of Texas ranching. If someone is doing this, it will taint the entire area."

Someone in the front raised a hand. Have you contacted Texas Game and Wildlife?

Mason nodded. Absolutely. Talked to the local game warden. But he tells me they’re stretched as thin as everyone else. Asked us to see what we could check out and report back to them.

I’ve got my men out riding every night, Bo Sheridan said, checking area by area to see what they can sniff out.

Did they find anything? someone else asked.

Sheridan shook his head. Not yet, but we aren’t giving up. And we’re asking all of you to keep your eyes and ears open. If you see or hear anything, let Hob Winston know. He’s agreed to be the central clearing house for information.

Drew listened as the meeting wound down, studying the men at the front of the room. Something was off, but he just couldn’t put his finger on it. Maybe he’d do some of his own night riding.

* * * *

The white wolf raced hard across the pasture, heading for the copse of trees at one end. She’d been out again trying to find the illegal game preserve and searching for John, but she’d been spotted. Two men had chased her across acres of ranch land, firing twice at her, but she was too far away for them to hit. She knew they didn’t want to kill her. John had told her they liked to maim animals and torment and torture them before finally killing them. She’d been very careful, but somehow she’d been spotted.

Her lungs were bursting as she increased her speed. Somewhere in this vast area she had to find someone to help her, but to do that she needed to avoid capture herself. She’d finally realised that she had to approach a human, hoping he wouldn’t throw her out or have her committed. Her destination was the ranch house just on the other side of these trees, drawn to it by some essence of safety, and she hoped she wasn’t wrong. The man who was the obvious owner of Hawk’s Run Ranch had an air about him that called to her wolf sense.

Last night, after finally making her way back to her hidden camp site, she’d drawn a crude map of

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